Marcela’s Story

When Marcela gave birth to her son, Santiago, she felt nothing but joy and excitement. But just four days later, she began to experience fatigue and shortness of breath. Doctors believed that the pregnancy had strained her heart, which was already weak because of a congenital condition, and she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Marcela’s twin sister had undergone a heart transplant at age 11, and it looked like Marcela would also need a new heart.


Concerned that Marcela wouldn’t survive long enough for a matching donor heart to be found, doctors at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson (formerly University of Arizona Medical Center) decided to implant the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH) to bridge her to a heart transplant and hopefully allow her to watch her baby grow up.